The Way of Explorers
In the land of Pablo Neruda’s socks
no gift is simple. And that’s a law
of nature, like gravity. When he saw
he had entered new territory, he charted
the quantum mechanics of it--how alternate
realities exist in this very moment.
And so, all the care that goes into raising sheep
and gathering wool and knitting socks
is transformed into a universe
of worlds within worlds and all we need
is the ability to see it.
That land is part of an archipelago. You can jaunt
to the land where an onion is a flower
and it is okay to cry--
and to the land where age is not a measure of time,
but a ladder made of air. He died half a century ago
but the portal he inked will transport you there.
And then there is a land with a magic fig tree.
Just ask Ross Gay. He’ll give the coordinates.
That tree holds the power to transform passers by
into community. Not where you set down roots,
but where you let the roots someone planted long ago
pull water from the earth to mix with sunlight
and chlorophyll to produce a sugary potion
that can make busy people slow down
and commune with each other--strangers,
that’s who--to create a kind of plenty even the yellow
jackets are willing to share. And while you’re talking
to him, ask him to draw you a map to the land
where the act of buttoning a shirt can plant
a seed and if you connect the dots
you can cultivate your own magic fig tree.
With ode as sextant, constellations
of islands that harbour enchantment
remain to be discovered.
Some not far from the routes
you’ve traced and retraced,
some along large tracts
where humans have yet to go.
They call to you, a world away.
Tatyana Pchelnikova shows what you need
is a schooner, nimble enough to skip
through storm and glassy lull alike,
powered by the Earth’s own breath,
headsail touched by the alchemy
of the setting sun.
That, and to give yourself
permission to go aboard.
Becky DeVito has used poetry as a means of working her way through trauma. Her experiences writing poetry led her to investigate the ways in which poets come to new insights through the process of drafting and revising their poems for her doctoral dissertation. She is a professor of psychology at the Capital campus of CT State Community College in Hartford, Connecticut. Her poems have been published in The Ekphrastic Review, Frogpond, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Naugatuck River Review, The New Verse News, Ribbons: Tanka Society of America Journal, and others. Join her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
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